One telling flick of the boot showcases Dele Alli’s genius

Dele Alli looked somewhere close to his electric best last night.

On the chalkboard

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder turned in a superb performance on Wednesday as Spurs improbably reached the Champions League final, turning around a three-goal deficit and going through on away goals against Ajax.

Lucas Moura grabbed the headlines with a sensational hat-trick on the night but Alli’s contribution cannot be understated.

The England international, per WhoScored, touched the ball 57 times, completed two dribbles and also laid on four key passes, with two assists, taking his tally to eight for the season in all-competitions.

One of those was proof that the 23-year-old has returned to the swaggering form that saw him prove so effective in the World Cup and in seasons prior.

With the clock ticking down and Spurs seemingly heading out of the competition, Alli tried an impudent flick. He had absolutely no right to be so brazen in the final minute of a semi-final in Europe’s elite club competition but it found its way to Lucas, who sent a low drive beyond Andre Onana.

Straight outta MK Dons.

Spurs, all of a sudden, were in a Champions League final, with Alli playing a key role.

The big-game player

Alli has endured a serious dip in form this season but he remains one of Spurs’ most integral players, particularly in big games.

This was a telling reminder to Mauricio Pochettino and his healthy contingent of doubters that he possesses the mentality to summon his wizardry on the biggest stage. It was a performance which vindicated his £90 million Transfermarkt valuation in a season which has prompted plenty of sceptics to doubt the extent of his ability.

Indeed, perhaps his best performance of the season prior to the clash with Ajax came against Chelsea in the Premier League, where he laid on an assist and scored in a 3-1 victory at Wembley.

Still young and still to hit his peak, Alli’s return to form will be excellent news for his manager.

Spurs, after all, still need to confirm their finish in the top four and, of course, they also face a Champions League final now, on June 1, against Liverpool.

With Alli in excellent form, they have every chance of being called European champions.

Another compelling layer has been added to the narrative of this unlikely prodigy.